DP53 Papua New Guinea economics graduate exit survey

Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper No. 53

By Michael Cornish

January 2017

To date, little detailed research has been undertaken on the university experience of students in Papua New Guinea, or their career preferences and expectations; this type of research is ordinarily canvassed in graduate exit surveys. This study addresses this gap by analysing and discussing the results of a graduate exit survey of a small cohort of final year undergraduate economic students at the University of Papua New Guinea, whom the author was lecturing.

Most graduates sought to be employed within the public sector in Port Moresby, but a sizeable minority sought to run their own businesses. This highlights the need for the only economics degree in Papua New Guinea to expand its focus beyond economic theory to practical policy-making and entrepreneurial skills.

Despite the fragility of the current economic environment in Papua New Guinea, graduating economics students were optimistic about their likelihood of employment, if demonstrating quite mixed confidence about the level of knowledge and skills they acquired from their degrees. Particularly concerning were the open criticisms from respondents about the quality of the education they received.

Whilst this study was small in scope, it provides useful insights on enhancing the student educational experience at the University of Papua New Guinea and other Papua New Guinean universities.

Cornish, M. 2017, ‘Papua New Guinea economics graduate exit survey’, Discussion Paper No. 53, Development Policy Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra.

Karen Downing

Karen Downing is Research Communications Coordinator at the Development Policy Centre.